The cost of sacrifices entrepreneurs make to get their companies off the ground has been totted up and, while it’s great news for the economy, it’s bad news for their personal lives! A report’s found that UK business leaders have contributed £157bn to the global ‘after-hours’ economy by working longer than standard industry hours. However, only 1 in 10 said the sacrifice had been worth it.
A third of those surveyed by Sage in their global research admitted to choosing work over family time and personal relationships.
So what was their motivation for working the extra hours?
Whilst money might immediately spring to mind there were other factors highlighted by business owners including a love of what they do (31%) and a sense of achievement (38%). Although family time was put on the backburner by many the fact that they were running a family business was cited by 11% as well as the desire to build a business for future family generations.
How did UK owners compare with those in other countries?
Well it would seem that in the UK we’re not the worst culprits for turning our backs on time with loved ones. UK business owners are said to have achieved a better work/life balance than the global average. Only 38 per cent work more than 40 hours a week, compared to 57 per cent of entrepreneurs in Germany and less than the global average of 46 per cent.
Head of Businesscomparison.com, Philip Brennan says that the pressure to put in the extra hours can be overwhelming,
“Unless they’re very fortunate, owners of start-up businesses have a mountain to climb to get up and running. Many have low or no staff, only basic equipment and overflowing paperwork. One of the reasons why we set up businesscomparison.com was to save business owners precious time and money by allowing them to search for the best deals on insurance, commercial mortgages, invoice financing and loans online. If that means they get to spend more time with friends and family and achieve a positive work/life balance then it makes our job even more worthwhile.”
So with Christmas just around the corner how can business owners make time in their busy schedules to ensure they don’t miss the school nativities, carol concerts, Christmas parties and family get-togethers?
- Get super organised
Lists, lists and more lists! When you’re on a busy schedule spontaneity can go out of the window in order to get things done. Make sure you’ve put a detailed business plan in place to ensure that there is light at the end of the tunnel and there is a time when business can resume at a manageable pace. Be as efficient with your personal calendar as you are with your work schedule and cross reference the two so there’s no last minute disappointment when you find you’re double booked. You don’t want the little angel in your life to be left disappointed because you’ve arranged to see a client at the same time as the school nativity!
Christmas comes but once a year! Unless you’re a retailer, caterer, tree distributor, grotto organiser or Santa himself there will be tasks you can put off until the New Year or that you can complete before the festive season. Try to step back and analyse what has to be done and what really can wait to free up some personal time for you.
- Be honest
Okay, so there are some clients or business partners you might not want to show a softer side to and that’s quite understandable. However, in many cases it’s alright to show that you’re only human and that you care about your family and friends as well as your business. In fact it might even enhance your image in the eyes of your business peers if you are up front and explain why it’s so important that you miss a meeting to make a family get-together and wish your 90 year old grandma ‘Happy Christmas’.
- Call in reinforcements
If you know that Christmas is going to be a busy time for you, and if you can afford to, then invest in some extra temporary staff. Not only will you be spreading the festive cheer by making time to spend with your loved ones but also by employing someone who might really need the extra cash over the Christmas period.
- Switch off
We all know that time is precious as a business owner particularly when you’re starting up an enterprise so make sure that the time you do spend away is quality time. Employ staff who you can trust to get on with the job while you take time off and do whatever it takes to switch off from the responsibility, whether that be going for a run, taking the dog for a walk or singing along to Christmas songs on the way home!